Desiccation crack patterns


    Watch how clay cracks

 

This movie shows the sped-up action of desiccation cracks in clay and a computer simulation of crack-pattern formation. The displayed window of the clay probe has the size 6.1 x 7.85 cm² (2.4 x 3.1 inches). Here, the material is a bentonite slurry, which, initially, had a thickness of 2 mm (0.08 inches). The drying clay in the video was filmed for 24 hours.

Recording of the clay probe and developing the computational model were both carried out at the Institute of Environmental Physics, University of Heidelberg in 2000. This work was part of my Diploma thesis, which is available online for free through the library of the University of Heidelberg. The thesis' title is 'The dynamics of crack patterns in soil induced by desiccation'.